This story starts in Melbourne in February 2018. I was in Melbourne visiting my sister, and as she is a member of the friends of the Melbourne Botanic Gardens, we went in to attend a talk given by the Head Gardener from an English house called Great Dixter. He was on a tour promoting a book about the place. He ( forgotten his name) was an interesting speaker and made it sound like this house, but especially the garden, would be a wonderful place to visit on one of my UK jaunts!! Last year, it didn’t fit in my schedule; so this year I put it first on my agenda!!
With Simon, Adrian and Tyler gone to a music festival, I thought my first weekend would be an ideal time to visit southern Kent and east Sussex.
Step 1: Hire a car : a bright, shiny red Fiat 500!
Step 2 : Organize an AirBnB to stay in on Saturday night. I chose Rye, East Sussex.
NB: these 2 steps were actually organised 3 or more months in advance from Australia! Whilst I like to be spontaneous, I always plan mode of transport and where to sleep at night waaaay ahead of time. 😊
The weather on Saturday morning was quite wet, so I decided to leave my visit to Great Dixter until the Sunday.
Having collected the little red car, I set off for Royal Tunbridge Wells, only stopping to buy some fresh cherries from a roadside stall. I had previously googled coffee shops in RTW, and come up with a great one called Rustic.
Not only was the coffee excellent, their cakes were homemade and yummy and they had helpful tourist advice too. A great spot to recharge! The owner runs the cafe with 1 daughter throughout the week, but the above daughter works on Saturdays. During our chats, I discovered they had lived in Mildura, NSW, for quite some years, and knew Adelaide well!
After a wander around a park and a series of higgledy piggledy lanes called the Pantiles, I collected the car and headed to a National trust property called Scotney castle. ( The rain had cleared)
This consisted of an old, original small castle, magnificent grounds with both formal and informal gardens and a more “modern” home. ( Only 200 or so years old)
I’ll let the photos explain…..
A wonderful way to spend an afternoon!
Next stop was Rye…..a lovely town by the sea, in East Sussex. After settling into my Airbnb and chatting with my hostess, I set off on a walk to explore Rye. ( Following suggestions from my hostess) Thus followed a wonderful 2 hours of walking, taking photos and window shopping, finished off with a cod and chips supper!!
After walking 20, 918 steps, drinking great coffee, viewing beautiful sights, and learning interesting history, I called it a day!
A new day dawned and on advice from the Rustic coffee shop ladies, I first headed to Winchelsea Beach
and then the little town of Winchelsea.
I’m so glad I visited this quaint little town. Apart from being very old and very photogenic……..Winchelsea held a couple of surprises for me….
John Wesley’s chapel and then Spike Milligan’s grave…..
Now it was time to drive on to the purpose of this weekend escapade…. Great Dixter!
I started off with a quick look in the house , interesting and different, but then I moved onto the main event….the garden. There’s formal areas, fruit trees, vegetables and many areas of flowers. Some areas were meadows of wild flowers, left to attract the bees and butterflies, others were a lot more organized, by colors, or types or sizes, but all were beautiful! I stopped at the rustic cafe area to drink tea and eat my pre-prepared lunch, then wandered some more! I will show you some of the garden here but you can view the whole collection of photos later on, if interested!